New Futures traders are often surprised by the varying trading hours that many of our Futures markets have. Stocks open at 09:30 ET and close at 16:00 ET and it doesn’t matter if it is Google or some penny stock, they all trade during the same hours. Futures, however, each have their own standardized contracts and one of the features of these unique contracts is their trading sessions, but sometimes the session hours change.
Markets are always changing. That statement has always been true, but these days the markets may be more dynamic than ever. The recent changes to trading hours at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group) are a good example.
Why do trading hours change?
There are several reasons trading hours can change. Even when the trading pits were the only way to place orders, the Futures market trading hours changed for some of the markets. These were very rare events, but they did happen.
For example, the Interest Rate markets used to open at 09:00 ET and close at 15:00 each day. That’s just 6 hours of trading out of 24, and believe me, the market moved during those 6 hours. What was nice was that the compacted time frame forced traders to get their trades in as quickly as possible, unlike today with 24 hour markets instead.
Then a change occurred and the Interest Rate markets began opening at 08:20 ET and closing at 15:00 ET each day to better align with the cash Bond market in New York and to allow the market to react to the 08:30 ET economic reports when they came out. When the Interest Rate markets opened at 09:00 ET there were usually some big gaps because the reports were released 30 minutes before the Bonds traded. The Cash Bonds would be trading during the report releases, but they could not hedge with the Futures markets closed. Hence, a change was needed in the Futures market hours and an earlier opening time was instituted.
Current Futures Market Trading Hours
This most recent change has to do with maintenance requirements. In the past, the Stock Indexes would close each day at 16:15 ET and the CME Group would perform maintenance to the Globex Electronic order entry platform between the 16:15 ET close and 16:30 ET when the markets would open for the next day’s trading. Now that the Globex platform has many more markets trading on it more software is required, and more software equals more updates. So, in order to accommodate the additional maintenance time required for these updates, the CME Group modified the trading hours of certain Futures markets.
The maintenance period is 17:00 ET to 17:45 ET Monday through Thursday. From 17:45 ET to 18:00 ET is preopen for the Globex platform when orders can be placed for the next session. These new hours shorten the trading day by 15 minutes.
The trading hours for the grain markets are now from the 20:00ET open to 08:45ET – with a break in trading from 8:45ET until 09:30ET, then open again until the 14:20ET close.
The chart below shows the most up-to-date trading hours for the key futures markets.
|Exchange||Products||Currency Trading Hours|
|CME||Stock Indexes||18:00ET – 17:00ET|
|Comex||Metals||18:00ET – 17:00ET|
|Nymex||Energy||18:00ET – 17:00ET|
|DME||Oman Crude Oil||17:45ET – 17:00ET|
You should know that when changes occur, keeping up with these changes is your own personal responsibility. Nobody is going to call or email you every time a change in the market comes along. A professional trader is always a student of the markets and always in a learning mode. If you’re a short timeframe trader, you don’t want to accidentally carry a position over into the overnight session and be required to use full margin to trade with.
“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.” Peter Seller.